Australian mining industry starting to recover, says report

20 June 2016 (Last Updated June 20th, 2016 18:30)

Australia's mining industry is showing signs of revival for the first time in three years, yet this is expected to be restricted if current government regulations remain, according to a new report by Newport Consulting.

Australia's mining industry is showing signs of revival for the first time in three years, yet this is expected to be restricted if current government regulations remain, according to a new report by Newport Consulting.

Canvassing the views of mining leaders in Australia, the report draws on interviews held between February and May this year with 50 industry experts.

The 'Mining Business Outlook' report for 2016 projects a positive next 12 months and found that 43% of mining leaders are optimistic about their prospects, rising from below 10% previously.

The report also highlighted those that are pessimistic has fallen from 93% to 55% this year.

"The Australian mining industry has to act during this drastic commodity prices decline to ensure it continues to be competitive."

Newport Consulting managing director David Hand said: "Companies are spending again, have more confidence in stabilisation of prices, and have prioritised growth strategies.

"It's a fine line, however as at the same time, the industry wants to see government take a proactive stance in reducing red tape; especially surrounding mining and project approval processes, which are seen to hamper growth and Australia's ability to return to a more competitive position globally."

In addition, Newport's report identified a rise in capex, with 27% of companies proposing to increase theirs in the next year. Of these, 31% plan to increase spending by up to 15%.

One in two leaders questioned expects prices to remain the same for the next 12 months.

Predicted job cuts have also fallen from 80% to 44% for the year ahead and there is an increase in the number of companies not making any changes to hiring plans, while 8% of leaders said they plan to recruit.

The report features an interview with Hancock Prospecting chairman Gina Rinehart who said: "The Australian mining industry has to act during this drastic commodity prices decline to ensure that it continues to be internationally competitive.

"We also need to significantly and urgently cut the government-imposed regulations, approvals, permits, licences and compliance cost burdens that are placed on Australia's resource industry. Yet little is happening."